Richard Halton to head VOD service

LONDON — The U.K.’s controversial video-on-demand service, Project Canvas, will bow as YouView when it launches next year.

The initiative — backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five as well as telcos TalkTalk, BT and Arqiva — on Thursday announced that its CEO is to be Richard Halton, the BBC’s program director of IPTV, who has been pivotal in developing the platform.

Each of the partners is pledging about £18 million ($28 million), which will cover the first four years of operation.

YouView, hailed as a tipping point in U.K. media because it will enable auds to access content on the Internet from their living-room TVs, is expected to bow before July.

The service is aimed at viewers who receive free-to-air digital TV content via the Freeview or Freesat platforms, in other words those who don’t pay a monthly subscription to payboxes BSkyB or Virgin, which both oppose the upstart VOD offer.

To receive YouView auds must buy a new set-top box, which is expected to cost about $310.

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